POSTCARDS FROM FLORIDA

Yalaha's the spot for perfect day

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There's an old saying that if you don't like the weather in Florida, wait 15 minutes and it'll change.

That's been the case this winter, with the unusually persistent cold temperatures, the occasional downpour at 9 a.m. and afternoons that require shedding the morning jacket.

Scattered in the mix are still the occasional perfect days that we once took for granted. I lucked into one this past weekend, just in time for a barbecue and bakery road trip to Yalaha, an unassuming stretch on County Road 48 between U.S. Highway 27 and State Road 19 in Lake County.

"There's a little bit of everything and a little bit of nothing," says Betty Crenshaw, 67, the owner of B.C.'s General Store, one of the finest roadside barbecue joints you'll ever come across.

She was talking about the artifacts (rusted license plates, straw hats, books) that cram the shelves and tables of her two-room shop. Most of them are donations from loyal customers, who have made the place a culinary landmark for discriminating ‘cue fans for 28 years.

The ribs, pork and chicken are cooked in a metal drum on the porch, which sends off a tantalizing aroma. Your meal comes in a Styrofoam box that you can take across the parking lot to concrete picnic tables under the oaks.

"You can make yourself at home around here," Crenshaw says, when I return to say goodbye. She's watching separate college basketball games on two portable TVs, one that was a donation from a customer. In the middle of the floor, an old bathtub is filled with clothes that folks donate for the less fortunate.

Dessert? Just go a mile down the road to the Yalaha Country Bakery (yalahabakery.com).

If B.C.'s is Mayberry, the two-story Bavarian bakery is Disney World. With live music on Saturdays in the outdoor courtyard, the parking lot overflows with snowbirds and bikers. It took 30 minutes to snag the stollen that would make me a Monday morning hero among my work pals. There's also a deli, where you can put the German rye to work in a sandwich. There also are brats and drinks available at an outdoor bar.

A perfect spot to enjoy a perfect day.
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